Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard condemns the Democratic party

What she condemns is a description of them.  She sounds a lot like Ronald Reagan.  She would be a real threat to Trump but what she wants is not what the Donks want so she could never be nominated by them.  She believes in love. They are consumed by hate

By Michael van der Galien

I've got to admit: I only respect and like two Democrats running for president. The first is Marianne Williamson. The second (and more prominent candidate at the moment, since she's polling at a couple of percent nowadays) is Tulsi Gabbard.

Tulsi is has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. She's a lefty, but she's honest and upfront about it. More than anything, though, she fears no one, not even her party's own godfathers and godmothers. Heck, she has all but declared war on Hillary Clinton. That takes balls.

However, sadly for Tulsi, she has one major problem. A weakness that she won't be able to overcome.

No, I'm not talking about her age or lack of experience. Trump had never held office before he became president, so hey, everything goes nowadays. No, Tulsi's problem is... that she's simply a decent human being.

"You know, sometimes politicians who are stuck in Washington, and don't take the time to get out, don't get out to where real people live and play and work, they lose touch with the reality of where the heartbeat of our country is," she told a crowd at a recent campaign rally. "The heartbeat of our country, it's certainly not in Washington, D.C. The heartbeat of our country is in rooms like this. In communities like yours all across this country, standing up and saying it is time now for our voices to be heard."

"It has gone on for so long that self-serving politicians in Washington and the richest, and the most powerful, and the most elite among us, have been in control and have been in power, and they have left us behind."

OK, so far so good, but that's where it all went wrong:

"The problem is our politics has been so poisoned and tainted for so long by those who are only interested in their own political power, their selfish interests or lining their pockets, and using fear and hatred and bigotry to divide us for their own personal gain that they don't know what this looks like. They don't understand what the power of the people feels like. They think that they have the power but they have forgotten that really, the power lies within our hands."
And she made it even worse:

"When we come together and stand united, not motivated by fear, not motivated by hatred, not motivated by racism or bigotry, but motivated by love. Motivated by love. Motivated by love for our country and for each other and for our planet and for our future. When we stand united in this love, there is no obstacle we cannot overcome."

Of course, the problem is that everything she says she doesn't want to be is exactly what the Democratic Party represents. This is the party that tells Trump voters that they're just angry white people, smelly Walmart shoppers and a basket of deplorables. This is the party that tells African Americans that they have to vote for Democrats or else they're Uncle Toms. This is the party that has started an impeachment procedure against the democratically elected president simply because he (and his voters!) don't share their views. This is the party that smears anyone who mildly suggests that perhaps -- perhaps! -- unborn life deserves some protection at some point.

In short, the Democratic Party is the party of hatred, racism, and bigotry. There's literally no chance of someone like Tulsi -- decent, unifying, brave -- winning that party's nomination.



Brooklyn: Man Arrested for Egging Synagogue Turns Out Not to Be a White Supremacist

But names like his are readily found in Pakistan

The New York Post reported Thursday that “a teenager who threw an egg at a Brooklyn synagogue and chucked another one at a woman in Borough Park has been arrested on a number of hate crime charges, police said.”

This took place in a neighborhood where many Orthodox Jews live. The young activist’s name turns out to be Mohib Hoque, and he was “hit with three counts of hate crime assault, three counts of hate crime aggravated harassment, three counts of hate crime harassment and hate crime reckless endangerment.”

Mohib Hoque. A white supremacist, perhaps? An avid consumer of “far-right” news analysis?

Anti-Semitic attacks have sharply increased in the U.S., and virtually the entire political and media establishment has agreed that this is attributable to the rise of “white supremacists” and the “far-right.”

One problem with this claim is that actual white supremacists are a minuscule band of losers; another is that the same political and media establishment attaches the label “far-right” to virtually everyone who dissents from the Leftist agenda. And a third difficulty with the mainstream view is that it ignores the increasing hostility toward Israel and Jews in general on the Left, and the deeply ingrained anti-Semitism of one of the Left’s protected groups, Muslims – as a recent incident in New York City indicates.

Young Mohib Hoque “allegedly chucked an egg at a 38-year-old woman who was walking on 38th Street near 14th Avenue at about 6 p.m,” and then “about 15 minutes later, Hoque allegedly threw another egg at a wall of nearby Congregation Bnei Torah Sanz.”

None of Hoque’s behavior is really surprising to those who are aware of what Islam’s core text, the Qur’an, says about Jews. Most people assume that any hostility any Muslim may have toward Jews is motivated by the alleged mistreatment of “Palestinians” by Israel. That mistreatment, however, is largely the work of “Palestinian” propaganda mills that fabricate Israeli atrocities on a large scale, and is also in some cases a result of the practice of Hamas and Islamic Jihad of basing operations in civilian areas so that they can use retaliatory actions as a basis for more victimhood propaganda.

While it may be that Hoque actually believes some of this propaganda and it moved him to express his hatred and contempt for the synagogue, the Muslim animus toward Jews is much more deeply rooted than most people realize. The Qur’an depicts the Jews as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the well-being of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); they fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); they claim that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); they love to listen to lies (5:41); they disobey Allah and never observe his commands (5:13). They are disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more. They are under Allah’s curse (9:30), and Muslims should wage war against them and subjugate them under Islamic hegemony (9:29).

These aren’t just random verses tucked away in a dusty book that everyone has forgotten. The Qur’an is at the very center of Islamic culture and life, and has exerted its influence upon Islamic culture to such an extent that even many Muslims who don’t read it regularly and aren’t familiar with its contents share its hatred of Jews – in many Muslim-majority areas, that hatred is in the air.

The names of many of the perpetrators of anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City are not realized. If they were, it is likely that there would be more names such as that of Mohib Hoque than New York authorities are willing to admit.



USCIS: Nearly 80,000 DACA Recipients Have Arrest Records

With the question of the constitutionality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before the Supreme Court, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a study showing that nearly 80,000 DACA recipients have arrest records ranging from immigration violations to rape and murder.

The study should add fuel to the fire if Congress were to try and make DACA recipients legal.

Before jumping to conclusions, both sides should consider what exactly the USCIS studied.

Fox News:

The data released Saturday by  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shows only arrests or apprehensions for a criminal offense or an immigration-related civil offense and does not take into account whether there was a conviction, acquittal, dismissal or a lessening of charges.

This is important when giving weight to the study and judging its relevance. Getting arrested doesn't make you a felon and given the kinds of offenses that the overwhelming number of DACA recipients were arrested for, it certainly doesn't make one a violent or dangerous criminal.

But perhaps recipients of DACA should be subject to more scrutiny.

The report finds that of the nearly 889,000 applicants for the DACA program, 110,000 had arrest records. Of the more than 765,000 approved for DACA, 79,398 had arrest records. Of that number, 67,861 were arrested before their most recent DACA approval, while 15,903 were arrested after their most recent approval.

The offenses incurred by DACA requestors who were arrested before their most recent approval include battery (3,421), assault (3,308), burglary, breaking and entering (1,471), rape (62), murder (15) and theft or larceny (7,926). The largest population arrested were suspected of driving-related offenses excluding DUIs (23,305) and immigration-related offenses (12,968.)

USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli, well known for his anti-DACA views, issued a statement:

“As DACA continues to be the subject of both public discourse and ongoing litigation, USCIS remains committed to ensuring transparency and that the American people are informed about those receiving DACA,” USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement.

“This agency is obligated to continue accepting DACA requests from illegal aliens as a direct result of the previous administration’s decision to circumvent the laws as passed by Congress. We hope this data provides a better sense of the reality of those granted the privilege of a temporary deferral of removal action and work authorization under DACA,” he said.

The "reality" is that the Supreme Court is likely to find the program unconstitutional. But there is a strong sense in Congress on both sides of the aisle, that punishing someone who was brought here illegally by their illegal parents, shouldn't have to suffer the consequences.

I'm sure that part of that deal will be to prevent violent convicted felons from being allowed to stay in the country. But what about the others? Should drunk drivers be deported? Should a previous civil immigration violation be a reason to kick an otherwise law-abiding illegal out of the country?

These are questions for Congress as the issue of DACA once again comes before it.




LANDMARK SCUFFLE: Trump asks Supreme Court to let him keep his tax returns secret, setting up a landmark fight (CNBC)

TRADE PROGRESS: Nancy Pelosi says finalized trade deal with Mexico and Canada "imminent" (National Review)

BACKGROUND HERE: Federal judge rules U.S.-born "ISIS bride" not an American citizen, U.S. not required to repatriate her (National Review)

AWKWARD: U.S. manufacturing group hacked by China as trade talks intensified (Reuters)

IRON FIST: Hong Kong violence continues to escalate as China's Xi Jinping makes strongest statement yet (Hot Air)

POLICY: Don't reauthorize the Export-Import Bank — defund it (Washington Examiner)

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards hangs on to his Louisiana seat; however, Republicans procure a supermajority in the state senate (Vox)

"WE'RE ABSOLUTELY GOING TO MAKE MISTAKES HERE": Twitter rolls out ban on political ads covering candidates, elections, and legislation (National Review)

DISASTROUS: Elizabeth Warren's tax plan would hit some with rates over 100% (The Daily Wire)

LAGGING BEHIND: Immigration jails in Trump era are packed, but deportations are fewer than in Obama's (The Washington Post)

TRANSPARENCY: Trump's team delivers a big win for patients by making health costs clearer (Washington Examiner)

AN INDICATOR THAT TRUMP WILL PERSEVERE: As impeachment fizzles, the stock market soars (The Federalist)

SHAPING WHAT YOU SEE: How Google interferes with its search algorithms and changes your results (The Wall Street Journal)

POLICY: Improving surface transportation through federalism (The Heritage Foundation)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

UK: Why Boris will win

One of the strange things about General Election campaigns is that you can never really predict what will capture the public imagination.

Day after day, the nation's politicians trudge up and down the country, and most people barely even notice they're there. And then, quite suddenly, a stray remark seizes the nation's attention and can never be wiped away.

Two years ago, for example, Theresa May travelled the land intoning her terrible mantra about strong and stable leadership, and nobody cared. Then she told an interviewer that the worst thing she'd ever done as a girl was to run through a field of wheat, and everybody remembered it.

For Boris Johnson, that moment came during his mock-spontaneous campaign video, released online a few days ago. In case you haven't seen it, the Prime Minister is interviewed wandering around his campaign headquarters, making a cup of tea and greeting random staff members.

He talks about wanting to get Brexit done, and about liking Marmite. Then comes the remark that, in the public mind at least, seems to sum him up.

What, asks the interviewer, has surprised him most about being Prime Minister?

The biggest shock, he says, is that he can no longer have a takeaway. The other day, he adds, 'I couldn't actually get a Thai curry to deliver to Number 10 because of the security problems'.

Classic Boris, you might think. The kind of man who's desperate to get stuck into a decent curry. A man who likes the Rolling Stones and forgets to take out his teabag before pouring in the milk. A man of the people.

Of course, there's more to it than that. You can bet that every line in that campaign video was carefully scripted, right down to the last syllable. As recent months have shown, Johnson is a very canny, even ruthless, operator and he knew exactly what message he was sending.

Indeed, his critics — some of them inside his own party — claim the whole thing is an act. They point to his upper middle-class background, his classical education at Eton and Oxford, his plummy accent, his membership of the Bullingdon Club, even his air of carefully manicured dishevelment, and see an Establishment figure in populist clothing.

But that takeaway line resonated because it matches what the public already think. For in Johnson, many working-class voters do see a man of the people, to an extent unmatched by any Tory leader in living memory.

The very fact that so many people automatically refer to him as 'Boris' is very telling. Even that campaign video begins with the interviewer, in a strong Estuary accent, greeting him with the words: 'Hi Boris, all right?'

Even when he went to South Yorkshire, meeting residents who were angry that the official response to the floods had not been quicker, people automatically called him by his first name. 'You've took your time, Boris, haven't you?' said one heckler.

Afterwards, the Mail's man in Yorkshire, Chris Brooke, noted that even diehard Labour supporters, who thought he should have done more to help the flood victims, invariably called him 'Boris', not 'Prime Minister'. And although they might not be his biggest fans, many were pleased to shake his hand and even sit down for a cup of tea.

Nobody called Mrs May 'Theresa'. Nobody bumping into her predecessors called David Cameron 'Dave' or Michael Howard 'Mike'.

The last Conservative leader to whom ordinary voters referred by her first name was Margaret Thatcher — 'Maggie'. And she was the last Tory leader who strongly appealed to ambitious working-class voters, not least because she sold them their council houses.

Yet according to the latest polling data, Johnson's appeal to working-class voters is even stronger than Mrs Thatcher's in the early 1980s.

A ComRes poll this week, for example, found that fully 43 per cent of skilled and semi-skilled manual workers — those people at the bottom of the social pyramid — are planning to vote Conservative, up from just 35 per cent in 2017.

A YouGov poll, meanwhile, found that among all working-class voters, the Tories are on 47 per cent, a staggering 20 per cent ahead of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party.

This picture might change on Election Day, of course, but I doubt it. Every last bit of evidence suggests that the Tories are far more popular than Labour among working-class voters, turning the time-honoured stereotypes of British politics on their head.

Not all of this, mind you, is down to Johnson. Contrary to Labour gibes that the Tories have never been anything more than the party of the rich, they have typically attracted between a quarter and a third of the working-class vote.

But in the past few years, there has been a marked surge in the Tories' working-class support. Some 38 per cent of working-class Britons voted Tory in 2017, the Party's strongest showing since 1979.

One of the central factors, obviously, is Brexit. Some political scientists believe Brexit has shattered the old political alignment, with millions of voters abandoning old haunts for new homes.

For the Conservatives, the obvious downside is their abandonment by affluent urban Remainers who might once have been regular Tory voters. In 2017, for example, they lost Canterbury, a classic leafy, middle-class university city, for the first time since 1835.

Or take Oxford West and Abingdon, which is positively stuffed with PhDs. The Tories won it in 2010 and 2015, but lost it two years ago to Lib Dem Layla Moran, almost entirely thanks to Brexit.

But the Tory calculation is that they can afford to lose seats like this if they pick up more working-class constituencies in the North and Midlands. They have high hopes, for example, of winning the veteran Dennis Skinner's seat in Bolsover, where as recently as 2005 they came third with just 17 per cent of the vote.

To capture Bolsover would be extraordinary indeed, but it is part of a pattern. The Tories' route to victory depends on success in the North, where they hope Labour voters' frustrations with the Brexit impasse, fury at the metropolitan political class and utter contempt for Jeremy Corbyn will outweigh decades of tribal loyalty.

This is where the Boris factor comes in. To paraphrase the old Heineken advert, Johnson refreshes the parts other Tory leaders cannot reach — in particular, the declining towns of Northern England.

Obviously Brexit, again, is part of the story, since the Prime Minister was the front man for the Leave campaign. Even his inability to get Britain out on October 31 — or, as he promised, to 'die in a ditch' if he failed — has not hurt him among most Leave voters.

There are other issues. Nobody doubts that Johnson, who wrote a book about Churchill, quoted Rudyard Kipling when he visited Burma and criticised Barack Obama for disliking the British Empire, is a patriot to his fingertips.

And given that Corbyn has consistently supported Britain's enemies, sympathised with the IRA and even talked of dismantling the Armed Forces, it is hardly surprising that so many patriotic Labour voters are planning to jump ship.

But there is more to it than Brexit, or even an anti- Corbyn backlash. The truth, as almost everybody in politics grudgingly admits, is that Johnson has the X Factor.

Six years ago, novelist Jonathan Coe wrote a remarkably prescient essay arguing that the key moment in Johnson's rise was his first appearance on the BBC One panel show Have I Got News For You. For Coe, very far from being a Boris fan, this was the moment the future Prime Minister cemented his public image as a 'loveable, self-mocking buffoon', an everyman rather than an Etonian.

He made people laugh, but he laughed at himself, too, pretending to be stupider than he actually was. And although the audience knew exactly what he was doing, they laughed nonetheless.

In an age of robotic, bland politicians, frightened of looking silly or saying anything controversial, that made him stand out.

Even his outspoken newspaper articles cemented his reputation as a free spirit, who refused to be shackled by the po-faced, politically correct thought police.

By and large, Johnson has stuck to that relentlessly good-humoured, self-deprecating formula. His most celebrated moment as London Mayor, for example, came when he celebrated Britain's first gold medal in the 2012 Olympics by taking to a zip-wire, which got stuck, leaving him dangling ludicrously while clutching two Union Jacks.

Trapped in his harness, a safety helmet jammed on his blond mop, he looked absurd — and that, in a sense, was the point. He was not afraid to look ridiculous; rather, he embraced it. It was later alleged that this was a deliberate stunt.

As a result, people have always felt comfortable with him. There is nothing starchy or censorious about him: quite the reverse. Among many voters his frankly disreputable private life probably works in his favour. People rarely enjoy the company of saints, but never mind meeting another sinner.



Attorney General Barr Shreds The Political Left During Federalist Society Speech

On Friday, Attorney General William P. Barr delivered the 19th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture at the Federalist Society's 2019 National Lawyers Convention.

The most significant part of the speech, to me, was when Barr slammed the political left for their endless attacks on Trump, and their bogus narrative that Trump is subverting the Constitution.

One of the ironies of today is that those who oppose this President constantly accuse this Administration of “shredding” constitutional norms and waging a war on the rule of law. When I ask my friends on the other side, what exactly are you referring to? I get vacuous stares, followed by sputtering about the Travel Ban or some such thing. While the President has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook, he was upfront about that beforehand, and the people voted for him. What I am talking about today are fundamental constitutional precepts.

The fact is that this Administration’s policy initiatives and proposed rules, including the Travel Ban, have transgressed neither constitutional, nor traditional, norms, and have been amply supported by the law and patiently litigated through the Court system to vindication.

Indeed, measures undertaken by this Administration seem a bit tame when compared to some of the unprecedented steps taken by the Obama Administration’s aggressive exercises of executive power – such as, under its DACA program, refusing to enforce broad swathes of immigration law.

Barr also specifically called out the resistance.

The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of “Resistance” against this Administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law. This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day. It was adverted to by the old, curmudgeonly Federalist, Fisher Ames, in an essay during the early years of the Republic.
Oh, but he wasn't done there:

In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion.  Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection.  Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end.  They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications.  They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.

I strongly encourage you to watch (or read) the whole thing. After eight years of having partisan radicals running the show and turning the Department of Justice into a political weapon for Barack Obama, it's refreshing to see we have an advocate for the Constitution and the rule of law again.

Naturally, some on the left were triggered by this. As would be expected. They were spoiled by the corruption of the Obama years when Democrats were above the law and constitutionality was based on the whim of Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Loretta Lynch, not the actual Constitution. It's clear from Barr's speech that he's on the side of the Constitution and rule of law, and that makes the left very afraid.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


Monday, November 18, 2019

County Seizes Michigan Man's Home After He Underpays Taxes by $8.41

Halloween may have passed, but here is a horror story about the government using its power to tax as a means of seizing private property, then making a profit for itself. Michigan's Oakland County basically stole an elderly man's house and flipped it for a profit.


An 83-year-old retired engineer in Michigan underpaid his property taxes by $8.41. In response, Oakland County seized his property, auctioned it off to settle the debt, and pocketed nearly $24,500 in excess revenue from the sale.
Under Michigan law, it was all legal. And hardly uncommon.

Uri Rafaeli, who lost his property and all the equity associated with it, is just one of thousands of people to be victimized by Michigan's uniquely aggressive property tax statute.

This is yet another example of a law being passed with good intentions but soon turning into a nightmare when power-hungry officials pervert it:

The law, passed in 1999 in an attempt to accelerate the rehabilitation of abandoned properties, empowers county treasurers to act as debt collectors. In the process, it creates a perverse incentive by allowing treasurers' offices to retain excess revenue raised by seizing and selling properties with delinquent taxes—even when the amount owed is minuscule, and even when the homes aren't abandoned or blighted at all.

Reagan's immortal words about the government helping come to mind, with this being one of the more nightmarish examples of a bureaucracy running roughshod over the citizens.

This Reason article is quite lengthy but good. It goes into detail about Rafaeli's horrifying tale, as well as providing other examples of Oakland County's property confiscation racket.

The law may be filling the county coffers, but it doesn't seem to be doing what it was originally intended to do:

The county's aggressive home equity forfeiture scheme seems to be part of the problem. Over a two year period between 2017 and 2018, volunteers working with the Quicken Loan Community Fund, a Detroit-based nonprofit connected to the mortgage company, interviewed more than 60,000 property owners who owed taxes to the city. Most were aware that they owed taxes, but did not have accurate information about the process or the potential consequences.

Worse, the survey found that aggressive use of home equity forfeiture was leaving the city with more vacant properties, not fewer.

Perhaps the stated intention was merely a misdirection ploy. Avowed bureaucracy cynics like myself might say that the law is working exactly as intended.



NY Times: ‘Tidal Wave’ of Mass Immigration Hands Virginia to Democrats

Last week, Democrats took control of Virginia’s House of Delegates and the State Senate. Now, the Democrats hold power over the state’s legislature, the governor’s seat and the lieutenant governor’s seat — the first time since 1993 that this has occurred.

The New York Times now admits that four to five decades of mass immigration — where about 1.2 million legal immigrants are admitted to the United States every year — has shifted Virginia into a blue state:

Not long ago, this rolling green stretch of Northern Virginia was farmland. Most people who could vote had grown up here. And when they did, they usually chose Republicans.

The fields of Loudoun County are disappearing. In their place is row upon row of cookie-cutter townhouses, clipped lawns and cul-de-sacs — a suburban landscape for as far as the eye can see. Unlike three decades ago, the residents are often from other places, like India and Korea. And when they vote, it is often for Democrats....

“It’s a totally different world,” said Charles Poland, 85, a retired history professor whose family has lived in Loudoun County for four generations. His family farm is now dotted with subdivisions filled with four and five-bedroom homes that sell for $750,000. The family legacy is a road named Poland. “If my parents came back today, they wouldn’t recognize the place. The changes came like a tidal wave.” [Emphasis added]

As Breitbart News analyzed, Virginia’s foreign-born population has boomed over the last few decades. In 1990, Virginia was home to less than 312,000 foreign-born residents. Today, there are close to 1.1 million, almost four times what the population was three decades before.

In 2019, 1-in-10 Virginia residents are foreign-born. In 1990, only about 1-in-28 residents were born outside the U.S.

A 38-year-old immigrant from India interviewed by the New York Times explained that he voted for Democrats in the recent Virginia election because he supports gun control measures, calling it the “most pressing issue” for him.

Under current legal immigration levels, the U.S. is on track to import about 15 million new foreign-born voters in the next two decades. Those 15 million new foreign-born voters include about eight million who will arrive in the country through chain migration, whereby newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country.

Republicans’ electoral prospects are only expected to get worse because of historically high legal immigration levels, according to research by Axios and the Atlantic.

Ronald Brownstein, senior editor for the Atlantic, noted this year that nearly 90 percent of House congressional districts with a foreign-born population above the national average were won by Democrats. This means that every congressional district with a foreign-born population exceeding roughly 14 percent had a 90 percent chance of being controlled by Democrats and only a ten percent chance of electing a Republican.

The impact of legal immigration levels was evident in the 2016 election despite President Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton. Among native-born Americans, Trump won 49 percent to Clinton’s 45 percent, according to exit polling data. Among foreign-born residents, Clinton dominated against Trump, garnering 64 percent of the immigrant population’s vote compared to Trump’s mere 31 percent.



Mandatory Shortages
Governments create problems. Then they complain about them.

“A public health crisis exists,” says Kentucky’s government, citing a report that found “a shortage of ambulance providers.”

Local TV stations report on “people waiting hours for medical transportation.” “Six-year-old Kyler Truesdell fell off his motorcycle,” reported Channel 12 news. “The local hospital told (his mother) he should be transported to Cincinnati Children’s to check for internal injuries.” But there was no ambulance available. Kyler had to wait two hours.

Yet Kyler’s cousin, Hannah Howe, runs an ambulance service in Ohio, just a few minutes away. “We would’ve (taken him) for free,” she says in my new video. “But it would’ve been illegal.”

It would be illegal because of something called certificate of need (CON) laws.

Kentucky and three other states require businesses to get a CON certificate before they are allowed to run an ambulance service. Certificates go only to businesses that bureaucrats deem “necessary.”

CON laws are supposed to prevent “oversupply” of essential services like, well, ambulances. If there are “too many” ambulance companies, some might cut corners or go out of business. Then patients would suffer, say the bureaucrats.

Of course, Kentucky patients already suffer, waiting.

It raises the question: If there’s demand, then who are politicians to say that a business is unnecessary?

Phillip Truesdell, Hannah’s father, often takes patients to hospitals in Kentucky, “I drop them off (but) I can’t go back and get them!” he told me. “Who gives the big man the right to say, ‘You can’t work here’?!”


Phillip and Hannah applied for a CON certificate and waited 11 months for a response. Then they learned that their application was being protested by existing ambulance providers. Of course it was. Businesses don’t like competition.

“We go to court, these three ambulance services showed up,” recounts Howe. “They hammered her, treated her like she was a criminal,” says Truesdell. “Do you know what you’re going to do to this company?! … To this town?!”

“It wasn’t anything to do with us being physically able to do it. (They) just came through like the big dog not trying to let anybody else on the porch,” says Howe.

Three other ambulance companies also applied for permission to operate in Kentucky. They were rejected, too.

Truesdell and Howe were lucky to find the Pacific Legal Foundation, a law firm that fights for Americans’ right to earn a living. Pacific Legal lawyer Anastasia Boden explains: “Traditionally we allow consumers to decide what’s necessary. Existing operators are never going to say more businesses are necessary.”

One Kentucky ambulance provider who opposed the new applications sent me a statement that says “saturating a community with more EMS agencies than it can … support (leads) all agencies to become watered down.”

Boden replies: “That’s just absurd. We now recognize that competition leads to efficient outcomes.”

It’s not just ambulance companies and people waiting for ambulances who are hurt by CON laws. Thirty-five states demand that businesses such as medical imaging companies, hospitals and even moving companies get CON certificates before they are allowed to open.

Boden warns: “Once you get these laws on the books, it’s very hard to get them off. Monopolies like their monopoly. This started back in the ‘70s with the federal government.”

But the feds, amazingly, wised up and repealed the mandate in 1987, saying things like, “CON laws raise considerable competitive concerns (and) consumers benefit from lower prices when provider markets are more competitive.”

Unfortunately, politicians in Kentucky and many other states haven’t wised up.

When Virginia tried to abolish its CON law, local hospitals spent $200,000 on ads claiming competition will force hospitals to close. Somehow, hospitals operate just fine in states without CON laws. But the Virginia scare campaign worked. The state still has a CON law.

In health care, and all fields, it’s better to see what competition can do rather than letting the government and its cronies decide what to allow.




SO SERIOUS: swoons over drag queen at impeachment circus hearings (NewsBusters)

REHEARING REJECTED: U.S. appeals court again backs House request for Trump tax documents (Reuters)

NO CONFIDENCE: Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announces Democrat presidential bid (Associated Press)

"UNCONSTITUTIONAL BIDDING": Federal government can't just allow 3D gunmaking software to proliferate without a license, federal judge declares (Reason)

BIG BROTHER: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders pitch Green New Deal bill for public housing (The Washington Post)

CLOSING IN: China holding "in-depth" talks with U.S. on interim trade deal (Reuters)

CONSEQUENCES: Trump administration proposes employment restrictions for asylum seekers who enter U.S. illegally (National Review)

CHILDREN EXPLOITED: More than 600 children "recycled" by migrant smugglers at border (The Washington Times)

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: FBI's "lone wolf" report says domestic terrorists are rarely isolated (NBC News)

POLICY: How LGBTQ education is gaining in tax-funded schools, from pre-K on up (RealClearInvestigations)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Method in Leftist madness

Michael Novak's comments below date from 2006 but are still powerfully relevant

Conventional wisdom seems to say that the Left has gone around the bend, is jumping off cliffs, is stark raving mad.

But there is a method in the madness of the Left. There has always been a method in it. The Left is not engaged in an “argument,” it is engaged in a revolution in the name of all that is just and right and good. Therefore, it does not aim to out-argue its opponents, but to shame them, to drive them from the field in ignominy, to make them figures of ridicule, moral indignation, and revulsion.

Go back and read your Lenin. Revisit the show trials. The point is that no one dares defend such bad people. (This tactic works. Think twice before defending Bush on a college campus. How much indignation can you bear?)

Better yet, watch Ted Kennedy in action. His attacks on Judge Alito, like his earlier attacks on Judge Bork, were not intended as arguments, and certainly showed little regard for fact. They were all bluster, moral indignation, character assassination, ridicule, ostracism. If words could kill, his were the words of an assassin.

This leftist tactic has worked for over one hundred years, because there are not many people who can stand unafraid before it. Most do not want to attract attention to themselves, lest its indignation and vituperation and moral ridicule be turned loose upon them. The tirades in which these words are launched—Senator Kennedy’s neck muscles bulge, his flesh turns bright red, his voice rises ever higher so as to forbid anybody–anybody–from interrupting him—are meant to enforce acquiescence, not consent. They are meant to intimidate, not to present an argument. They are meant to reduce to subservience all who are obliged to listen, even friends and associates (however embarrassed they might be).

Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin had mastered this Leninist trick himself, and turned it upon the Left. His every tonality and accent dripped ridicule and moral disdain.

It is a method that can be learned by anyone. But Lenin was the first to put it in handbooks and train hundreds of agitators, organizers, cells, and units to use it.

Playing tapes of Senator McCarthy in some of his famous hearings and Senator Kennedy in the recent judiciary hearings would, I believe, be quite instructive as to the method.

But why does this method work? As a method of last resort, it has the merit of intimidating good people into silence. It strikes fear into most hearts. Ridicule and moral opprobrium, and manifestations of sheer hatred for one’s very being, are not easy to bear, especially for conscientious and upright and morally sensitive people. Such persons, like Mrs. Alito, feel like bursting into tears. Those near them feel powerless and weak, unable to help, unable to make appeal.

Moreover, hatred spreads. Once the speaker licenses moral ridicule toward the accused, and destroys in him any semblance of moral character, truthfulness, or decency, on what ground will such a person stand? What shred of dignity is left to cover him? Such a person is unfit to be seen in the company of better people—the intention is to banish him. Don’t even consider him! Reject him! Cast him out!

To say that Senator Kennedy has become a bully is not enough. He is a destroyer of the moral dignity of persons.

When I was a boy, Democrats dominated everything. But Democrats since 1952 have held the White House only fitfully. They have lost the Senate. They have lost the House. They have lost the Supreme Court (which, although it is supposed to be independent of politics, was reconfigured to become the major motor of progressive reform). They have lost religious people, once their main base of support. They are losing popular appeal.

But by turning back to their Old Left handbooks, the Democratic leadership has found the acids that destroy opposition. Even though the nation is in a deadly war, they constantly attack the credibility and truthfulness of the President, ridicule him, call him names, morally assassinate him. That acid seeps through society.

As to building a better country, there is not much in this method to commend it. But for destroying the moral standing of the other side, it has had proven effect for many decades. It is not crazy for Democrats to conclude that, having lost so much, they have little more to lose.

And even if it is crazy, there is method in it. Canonical method, approved method.

In a democracy, alas, destroying the “in” power sometimes is sufficient for boosting the electoral success of the “outs.”



Donald Trump pardons three soldiers in war crimes cases despite swamp opposition

US President Donald Trump pardoned three armed services members who were accused or convicted of war crimes on Friday.

Trump reversed the demotion of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who was acquitted of murder, but convicted on a lesser charge in a war crimes case this summer.

'There are no words to describe how grateful my family and I are to our President - Donald J Trump for his intervention and decision', Gallagher said in a social media post after his demotion was reversed.

The president also ordered the release of Clint Lorance, a former army lieutenant who had been convicted of murder for ordering soldiers under his command to open fire on three unarmed Afgan men, including two who died.

And Trump cancelled murder charges against Major Mathew L. Golsteyn, an Army Special Forces officer whose trial was set to begin next month.

Trump personally called the three men after granting the pardons, which defied rulings made by military leaders seeking to punish the service members.

All three also had been favorites among conservatives who see them as heroes who should not have been prosecuted. Trump, when the White House was considering intervening in Golsteyn's case, commented at the time, 'We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill'!

In explaining his decision to clear the three service members on Friday, the White House released a statement saying 'The president, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted'.

'For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country', the statement explains.

'These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, 'when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight''.



Elizabeth Warren has been light on detail for funding Medicare for All — until now. So do the numbers add up?

The senator has yoked herself to Medicare for All—a single-payer system free at the point of service proposed by her competitor, Bernie Sanders. Unlike Mr Sanders, though, she dodged questions on whether taxes on the middle class would rise to pay the $3.4trn in added annual costs. On November 1st she released a detailed financing plan “without increasing middle-class taxes one penny.” Other candidates, she declared, should put forward similarly detailed plans or “concede that they think it’s more important to protect the eye-popping profits of private insurers and drug companies and the immense fortunes of the top 1% and giant corporations.”

The details explain both the initial reticence and the subsequent defensiveness. The underlying sums strain credulity, requiring heroic assumptions on cost reductions and budgetary gymnastics on rev-enue-raising. This mars Ms Warren’s wonkish reputation. It may placate voters for the primary, but would surely damage her in a general election against President Donald Trump, if she gets that far.

Start with the spending. Over the next ten years Americans are expected to spend $52trn on health care. Under a generous single-payer system, spending would increase by $7trn, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute, a left-leaning thinktank, which serves as the starting point of the campaign’s calculations. Through a number of steps, Ms Warren whittles this difference down to zero. She argues that national health spending would remain 1 constant, even though more people would be covered (eg, the 28m citizens and undocumented migrants without insurance) and the use of medical services would increase were they free.

Among her modifications of the Urban Institute’s numbers are lower administrative costs (2.3% of overall spending, compared with Urban’s 6%). Ms Warren’s plan assumes a slower rate of growth in health costs (3.9% versus Urban’s 4.5%) and less generous payments to hospitals for services (110% of current Medicare reimbursement rates versus Urban’s 115%). Added to this are targets for reducing spending on drugs—by 30% on generics and 70% on branded medicines—enforced by the threat of large excise taxes, the possibility of overriding patents and the option of having the government produce drugs itself. Given the resistance to such a plan from doctors, insurers, drug companies and hospitals, this would be hard to pull off.

Even with these steps, and the redirection of all existing public spending on health care, Ms Warren has a $20.5trn budgetary hole. Filling it is made harder by her insistence that taxes on the middle class will not increase. Currently employers shoulder a significant portion of healthcare costs. Under Ms Warren’s plan, the same cheques would be redirected to the federal government. In practice this would be a tax on employment, which seems likely to hurt middle-class Americans. It would also increase the relative cost of hiring lowwage workers, hurting the people Ms Warren most wants to help.

She finds some money from the kind of conjuring promised by less rigorous campaigns, like better tax enforcement (which provides $2.3trn), comprehensive immigration reform (providing $400bn) and the elimination of the fund that pays for the defence department’s Middle East operations (another $800bn). After all that, she is still short by $6.8trn.

To make up the shortfall, Ms Warren plans to add levies on large firms and rich Americans—beyond those she has already proposed. On top of the repeal of Mr Trump’s tax cuts and a new 7% charge on corporate profits, she would eliminate the ability of businesses to immediately write down depreciating capital; she would also impose a minimum tax of 35% on their foreign earnings. A new financial transactions tax of 0.1% would be placed on sales of shares and bonds, wrecking the business of high-frequency traders (perhaps a plus from Ms Warren’s point of view). The country’s 40 biggest banks would pay an annual fee of 0.15% on “covered liabilities” (liabilities minus federally insured deposits). The wealth tax has been revised upwards too. Fortunes above $1bn would be charged a 6% annual levy. A Warren presidency could cost Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon, $26bn over a single term. Nor could he escape by shedding his American citizenship. Ms Warren has proposed an “exit tax” of 40% on the net worth of billionaires to head off that threat.

These contortions are all the result of past decisions. Despite her earlier, more pragmatic instincts on health care, Ms Warren adopted two nearly incompatible pledges: to deliver Mr Sanders’ version of single-payer health care—more generous than that of Britain or Canada—but without any premiums or deductibles and without raising taxes on the vast majority of Americans. Because her evasiveness on funding was attracting criticism from her more moderate competitors, like Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden, Ms Warren released this plan, which seems to assume that anyone outside the top 1% of earners counts as middle class. During the primary election, the strategy could work. She can credibly answer her opponents’ claims by repeating her quasi-official catchphrase, “I have a plan for that”. Primary voters may shrug off the entire episode.

A general-election contest with Mr Trump would be a different matter. There was reasonable speculation that Ms Warren’s woolliness on health care was a tactical move, enabling her to strike a more centrist pose on securing the Democratic nomination. That option now looks closed off. The new plan opens her up to all manner of attack from Mr Trump, even though his own health plan is ill-defined, beyond a so-far unsuccessful drive to repeal Obamacare, and his record on health—2m more Americans are uninsured than when he came to office—is dreadful.

Going into an election promising to discontinue the health insurance of the 178m Americans who have private plans through their employers seems mad. “Democrats now have a 30-point advantage over Donald Trump on health care,” says Jim Kessler of Third Way, a centre-left think-tank. “If that gap narrows—and it will narrow if Democrats are for Medicare for All: it could narrow to zero—he gets re-elected.” According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-policy think-tank, 51% of Americans support Medicare for All while 47% oppose it. But when various objections to the programme are made—such as the elimination of private health insurance, and the possibility of increased taxes and queues for treatment—support drops to below 40%. As a policy, Warrencare might be described as negligent. Politically it looks more like malpractice.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here


Friday, November 15, 2019

The Donks don't like their own candidates much either

From the Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON — In less than three months, Democrats begin voting for their presidential nominee in Iowa, and the sound you hear is panic — among some donors and party elites, at least, who are privately pushing for a savior to enter the race.

Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and billionaire Michael Bloomberg are weighing jumping in at this late stage, hoping they can top a Democratic field that has been led by former vice president Joe Biden. A top adviser to Bloomberg said the former New York City mayor is “increasingly concerned” no one in the current field can beat President Trump, while Patrick has also commented that Biden’s support looks shaky.

And on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton told the BBC that “many, many, many people” are placing “enormous pressure” on her to enter the race. Although she said that “as of this moment” a run “is absolutely not in my plans,” Clinton didn’t rule out the possibility.

The last minute will-he-or-won’t-he dance reflects a larger unease among some in the party over the four candidates at the top of the field — Biden, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — and the reality that any last-minute contender needs to decide by Friday to get on the ballot in New Hampshire.

Privately, donors and party insiders wring their hands about the field’s chances of beating Trump.

“I’ve had senior people say, ‘I just don’t know what we’re going to do,’ ” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “People say Biden’s too old and washed up, Warren’s too far to the left, Buttigieg will end up losing swing states because he’s inexperienced. . . . They’ll go through the list of all the candidates and say, ‘Clearly they can’t win.’ ”

Democrats who have weathered their party’s ritual preelection freak-outs for decades are warning their peers that the five-alarm response is not necessary.

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who ran for president in 2004, said that while some are worried about whether “Joe could pull it off,” given questions about his stamina and lackluster fund-raising, it’s too late for an outsider to jump in and provide an alternative.

“We’re still a little bit in the early speculation stage,” he said, regarding Biden’s chances. “What we’re not in, though, is the let’s-join-the-race-now stage.”

Biden supporter Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania, said he tries to calm panicked Democrats by pointing out that in averages of head-to-head national polls, the top candidates in the running beat Trump.

“Is it the strongest field in the world? No, there isn’t a Barack Obama or a JFK in the race,” Rendell said. “But is it a good field? I believe it is, and every one of them is beating Trump head to head.”

But the 2020 race, which has attracted a historic number of Democratic candidates, marks the first time since 2004 that Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is not on the ballot, scrambling expectations among party insiders and leaving many without a compass.

“Why is anybody surprised this is messy?” said Vince Frillici, who was national finance director for former Connecticut senator Chris Dodd when he ran for the nomination in 2008.

The political environment is uniquely unsettled. In 2016, Trump upended all the leading predictions to win the election, while a populist Sanders detonated them as well with his strong showing against Clinton in the primary. That changed political landscape, if anything, makes it harder for pundits and party insiders to guess which candidate has the best chance of beating Trump. And many top Democrats feel that defeating Trump is an existential necessity for the nation, making the stakes feel even higher than usual.

Taken together, it’s a recipe for panic. “It makes Democrats, who are rather nervous by nature, shake visibly this year,” Sabato said.

But polling data suggests that rank-and-file Democratic voters are not longing for new contenders to examine in this historically large (to the point of overwhelming) field of 16 remaining candidates.

A recent Monmouth University poll found that 74 percent of Democratic primary voters are satisfied with the slate of candidates, compared to just 16 percent who said they want different choices. Several candidates — including Sanders and Warren — have also attracted crowds of thousands of fans, and racked up hundreds of thousands of grass-roots donors, suggesting enthusiasm for their bids.

That has some allies of Warren and Sanders wondering if the desire for a “white knight” is less about concern that the two progressives can’t win if Biden stalls out and more about fears that they can. Both candidates have proposed much higher taxes on wealthy people — including the rich donors that Democrats have cultivated for the past three decades — to fund larger domestic programs.

“They’re pushing new candidates to get in because they feel that they don’t want to part with any part of their fortunes,” said California Representative Ro Khanna, a cochair of Sanders’ campaign.

Adam Green, whose liberal political action committee backs Warren, said “corporate elites” would rather have a “a placeholder like Joe Biden than someone who will actually address inequality like Elizabeth Warren.”

“If Joe Biden can’t get the job done,” Green said, “then they’re looking for some others who might get in.”

But if Patrick and Bloomberg are banking on Biden floundering during the first few primary contests, allowing them to swoop in and take the reins, Biden’s allies suggest they may be wasting their time.

“I think he’s relying on the conventional wisdom that Biden might fade, but I don’t think he is going to,” Rendell said of Bloomberg. He pointed out that Biden has remained at the top of the national polls since he got in the race more than six months ago, even as other candidates have surpassed him in some early states.

“If Ronald Reagan got elected twice, Joe Biden has more than enough stamina to be a successful candidate,” he added of the 76-year-old former vice president.

Historically, donors and pundits have not had an impressive track record picking the “safest” candidate in a general election, others note. Bill Clinton was widely viewed as a loser early in the 1992 race, and Obama at first was seen as too risky to back in the ’08 primary.

“Hillary Clinton, I think she would have been a great president, but she was unquestionably the preferred choice among the donor set and Manhattan donor types and we know how that turned out,” said Brian Fallon, a former top aide to Clinton.

“I don’t think these people that are intrigued by a Bloomberg candidacy or maybe trying to cheer on Deval Patrick are necessarily good at picking people when it comes to how the general elections end up,” he added.



Illegal immigration down 63.5 percent from peak in May after U.S.-Mexico deal, proof that Trump’s tariff threat worked

Apprehensions on the southern border fell for the fourth consecutive month to 52,546 in September from a peak of 144,116 in May, a 63.5 percent drop, reflecting a major slowdown in migration according to the latest data from Customs and Border Patrol — and it all proves that President Donald’s tariffs are working.

The progress comes after the June 7 deal between President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that avoided Trump’s threatened tariffs on May 30 that would have been 5 percent starting on June 10, 10 percent on July 1 and then up to 25 percent by October.

At the time, Trump wrote on Twitter, “On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied… at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.”

Then the deal was cut days later, which included a Mexican military deployment to interdict the oncoming migrant caravan from Central America, as well as provision for asylum seekers to wait out pending hearings in Mexico without being allowed to cross into the U.S.

According to the text of the joint agreement, “Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border. Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks.”

In addition, the U.S. has expanded the Migrant Protection Protocols, per the agreement, “those crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims… [And,] Mexico will authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims.”

If the agreement in itself immediately proved that Trump could negotiate such an agreement, and that Mexico was willing to participate given the proper inducements, it is the substantial downturn in migration now that shows that it might be sticking.

Critics at the time said it couldn’t be done.

At the time, the Wall Street Journal editorial board on May 31 had predicted, “The first problem here is that Mr. Trump is blaming Mexico for a mess it can’t solve… Perhaps it could better control its border with Guatemala, but the caravans north are often led by gangs that know how to bribe or avoid police.”

The Council on Foreign Relations on June 5 stated, “President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico can’t staunch the flow of people from his neighbors to the south.”

But that was wrong. Way, way wrong. Apparently Mexico could do a lot more than it was letting on, including by deploying its military and enforcing agreements to protect asylum seekers.

And all it took was a little pressure from Trump, who had already shown that he was willing to wield tariffs against the much larger Chinese economy. They took him to heart, and now the number of migrants is plummeting.

Without the tariffs, nobody would have been talking. And without President Trump, nobody would have even tried.




THE HOT SEAT: House Republicans will call Hunter Biden to testify publicly as their top impeachment witness (National Review)

TAKING MATTERS INTO ITS OWN HANDS? Report: Ukraine's military aid was finally released by the State Department, days before Trump claims he released it (Hot Air)

NOT SO KEEN ON SOCIALISM: Elizabeth Warren plays to nearly empty hall (The Daily Wire)

JETTISONING THE SWAMP: Rep. Peter King is one of several Republicans — four senators and 17 other House members — who have announced plans to not seek reelection (Fox News)

PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE: "It wasn't me": Alleged ABC whistleblower denies leaking video (The Daily Caller)

DEMOCRAT LACKEYS: Facebook and YouTube block spread of supposed whistleblower's name and photo — even though Adam Schiff's committee published the man's name last week (The Washington Post)

SYRIA CONTINGENCY: U.S. will leave up to 600 troops in northeastern Syria to prevent ISIS resurgence, top general says (The Washington Post)

TONE DEAF: Giant, climate-killing mural of Greta Thunberg now graces environmentally hazardous downtown San Francisco (The Daily Wire)

"WE WILL SPARE NO EFFORT": Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire (Associated Press)

POLICY: The Berlin Wall is gone, but its lessons remain (National Review)

POLICY: Why Democrats are wrong about income inequality in the United States (The Federalist)

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM? Hillary Clinton continues to fuel speculation that she will run in 2020 — or perhaps it's the many, many, many voices in her head urging it (The Daily Wire)

DEATH BY DEFICIT: Study: Elizabeth Warren plan would hike deficit $15 trillion, create "soaring demand" for healthcare (The Washington Free Beacon)

WARRANT REQUIRED: U.S. court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops of international travelers (NBC News)

FOR THE RECORD: Man who slashed "Baby Trump" balloon: "First time" leftists are "mad about chopping up a baby" (The Daily Wire)

POLICY: Three major reforms NATO needs to keep from collapsing (The Federalist)

POLICY: Smart government focuses on essentials: reviving family and business formation (Issues & Insights)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Justices Should Reject Criminal Alien’s Appeal of Deportation Order

Hans von Spakovsky

If the Supreme Court rules against the government, it could keep thousands of dangerous aliens who have committed serious crimes, such as aggravated assault and using a weapon to commit a felony, in the U.S.

The Supreme Court on Nov. 4 heard oral arguments in an immigration case that could have a dramatic impact on how many criminal aliens plaguing our communities finally get deported.

The case, Barton v. Barr, is complicated, in large part because the statutes involved are vague and subject to various interpretations.

That prompted Justice Stephen Breyer to comment during oral arguments that “it wasn’t a genius who drafted this.” But the decision that will be made by the court in interpreting these immigration laws will affect the lives and safety of Americans.

Under federal immigration law, a permanent resident alien who is here legally is “removable” if he is “inadmissible.”  That is to say, he should never have been admitted in the first place because he met one of the factors listed in the statute (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)), such as posing “a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others.”

A permanent resident alien is also removable if he is “deportable” under another statute (8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)), which lists a series of disqualifying offenses, including violations of any “law of the United States.”

The attorney general has the discretion to cancel the removal of such an alien, but to be eligible for such cancellation, the alien has to show not only that he is statutorily eligible for such relief from the attorney general, but that he also deserves such favorable treatment.

The statutory requirement is that the alien has been “lawfully admitted for permanent residence for not less than 5 years”; has “resided” in the country “continuously for 7 years after having been admitted”; and that he has not been “convicted of any aggravated felony.”

What is at issue in the Barton case is the “stop-time rule.”  The stop-time rule outlined in 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1) says that an alien’s “period of continuous residence” in the U.S. is “deemed to end” if the alien has committed any offense that makes him “inadmissible” or “removable.”

In other words, an alien has to be crime-free under the law during the seven-year period of continuous residence. That’s not asking very much of a would-be citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Andre Martello Barton is a Jamaican who was admitted to the U.S. on a tourist visa in May 1989. In 1992, he was granted permanent resident alien status.  Four years later, in 1996, he was convicted in state court on three counts of aggravated assault, as well as first-degree criminal damage to property and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.  This was followed up by more convictions in 2007 and 2008 for drug offenses.

In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security finally sought to remove Barton, and an immigration judge agreed that he could be removed because of his drug and weapon convictions.

When Barton applied for cancellation of his removal, the DHS argued he wasn’t statutorily eligible because he didn’t meet the seven-year continuous residence requirement due to his convictions for aggravated assault in 1996.

The DHS said the “stop-time” rule meant that his period of continuous residence ended in 1996, when he committed the aggravated assaults and firearms offenses.

Barton appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In what amounts to a highly technical argument about the wording in the applicable immigration statutes, Barton claimed that since he was not currently seeking admission to the U.S., he couldn’t be “rendered” inadmissible through the stop-time rule.

Barton also argues that the 1996 convictions did not trigger the stop-time rule because it is not referenced in Section 1182(a)(2) of the statute, and that he was convicted in July 1996, after the seven-year anniversary of his initial admission as a tourist.

The Court of Appeals rejected Barton’s arguments, and he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The high court should rule against Barton, too. As the 11th Circuit said, the stop-time rule’s “plain language forecloses” the interpretation that Barton and his lawyers are trying to push.

Further, if the Supreme Court rules against the government, it could keep thousands of dangerous aliens who have committed serious crimes, such as aggravated assault and using a weapon to commit a felony, in the U.S. 

Congress obviously wanted criminal aliens like Barton, who endanger our communities, removed from the country. Although the statutes in play here may not have been written by “a genius” (or even a decent legal writer), their intent is clear.

A ruling for Barton would not just violate the text of federal immigration law, but the congressional intent behind those particular statutes.



Don Jr. Tells Jeanine Pirro: The Establishment Hates Trump Because He Proves They're Useless

Appearing on Judge Jeanine Pirro's show on Fox News, Donald J. Trump Jr. explained why the establishment left (and a large part of the establishment right!) hates his father, President Donald J. Trump, so much. In short: the president, who came in as an outsider, is doing such an amazing job that the establishment just can't tolerate him. He must be removed, if for no other reason than because he clearly proves that professional politicians are extremely overrated... and perhaps even detrimental to America's economy.

"Listen, I think he is tackling the establishment. The establishment in this country has gotten into high levels of power. There has been no accountability, frankly, on either side for far too long. And that's why you see... that's why you see the nonsense with Hunter Biden, that's why you see the stuff going on now where Adam Schiff can be judge, jury, executioner. And Donald Trump, because he is an outsider has yet to have any of the same rights that any citizen in the United States would have right now. He's an affront to what they've built up."

The ruling class, Don Jr. went on to say, has taken care of itself "for far too long. Trump came in and said, 'I'm going to blow all that up.' He did it." And not only did he do just that, he "has done it with accomplishment, he has done it with record unemployment numbers, he has done it with incredible record start-up numbers for new businesses... He has done everything that incompetent politicians have not been able to do in decades. And he has done it in a record amount of time."

"That is the scariest thing in the world for that ruling class because they're starting to realize, and the American People are starting to realize, that they serve no actual purpose for the American People."

Don Jr. is 100 percent correct. Not only is the establishment useless -- which is something the establishment itself must have known for years -- but President Trump's achievements prove it for all to see. This is a major problem for the establishment. If they are no longer considered necessary, how are they going to hang on to power? Sure, they're rich and powerful, but if the American people stand up and decide to get rid of them, they're done for.

And that makes it even more necessary for Trump to win reelection next year.



Judge Rules Against Merit-Based Immigration

Should immigrants be able to provide for themselves? Not if Democrats succeed.

Remember ObamaCare? Remember the act that was passed on Christmas Eve without a single Republican vote? Remember when Nancy Pelosi famously asserted Democrats had to pass it so Americans “find out what’s in it?” Remember what Americans “found” is that despite the former president’s promises that one could keep one’s health insurance if one liked it — more accurately known as the 2013 Lie of the Year — one would be required to purchase health insurance, or face a fairly substantial fine for failing to do so?

How times have changed, courtesy of U.S. District Judge Michael Simon, an Obama appointee. On Nov. 2 in Portland, Oregon, Simon issued a temporary restraining order blocking a Trump administration initiative that requires immigrants to prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas aimed at giving them permanent legal status. “Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” Simon wrote.

Irreparable harm for whom? Trump invoked executive authority last month with regard to those requirements, as part of the administration’s efforts to transition to a merit-based immigrant system—as in one that would not further harm Americans. “The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants who come lawfully in search of brighter futures. We must continue that tradition while also addressing the challenges facing our healthcare system, including protecting both it and the American taxpayer from the burdens of uncompensated care,” Trump stated in the proclamation. “Continuing to allow entry into the United States of certain immigrants who lack health insurance or the demonstrated ability to pay for their healthcare would be detrimental to these interests.”

In other words, those seeking permanent residency shouldn’t have immediate access to America’s welfare state. In a nation burdened by $23 trillion of national debt — driven in large part by welfare state mandates — such a requirement would seem to be a no-brainer. The administration made that clear when it noted that subsidized healthcare plans still available on ObamaCare exchanges would not qualify as insurance.

A study by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reveals why: Only 57% of U.S. immigrants had private health insurance in 2017, and America still welcomes 1.1 million legal immigrants to our nation on an annual basis.

It should be further explained that this order was not issued ex post facto. It would have applied to immigrants living abroad, not those already here. Moreover, refugees, asylum-seekers, and children would have remained unaffected.

None of it mattered to Judge Simon. The temporary restraining order blocks the policy’s implementation for 28 days, and another hearing on the matter is scheduled for Nov. 22.

Unsurprisingly, the move was celebrated by those who apparently believe self-sufficiency should not be an integral part of immigration reform. “Countless thousands across the country can breathe a sigh of relief today because the court recognized the urgent and irreparable harm that would have been inflicted” (without the hold), Jesse Bless, director of federal litigation at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said in a statement.

Justice Action Center senior attorney Esther Sung, who litigated the case brought by seven U.S. citizens and a nonprofit organization, echoed those sentiments. “We’re very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the health care ban immediately,” she stated. “The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped.”

That two-out-of-three immigrants seeking green cards can’t afford their own health insurance is a testament to the agenda of those who believe America should abiding the standards of immigrants, instead of immigrants abiding the standards of America.

Unsurprisingly, Simon is only the latest Obama-appointed federal jurist on a self-aggrandizing mission to undermine this administration’s effort to end the nation’s immigration crisis. On a single day last September 27, three Obama-appointed judges also did their best to thwart the administration’s efforts. In California, Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles issued a preliminary ruling banning the administration’s attempt to detain migrant families for longer than 20 days; U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birrote Jr. issued a permanent injunction blocking Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from relying solely on the databases when issuing detainers; and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a nationwide preliminary injunction barring the administration from using a fast-track deportation process aimed at illegals who illegally entered the nation in the last two years.

And last Tuesday, Judge John Kronstadt of the United States District Court in Los Angeles — yet another Obama appointee — ruled that America must provide mental-health services to families “traumatized” by being separated at the border. “This is truly groundbreaking,” said dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, Erwin Chemerinsky.

It’s also quite telling. Kronstadt was appointed in 2011 — meaning he sat mute when the Obama administration was separating families at the border.

Thus, some separations are more equal — and much more political — than others. Especially when the media make a big deal out of them on one hand and, on the other, either completely ignore the issue, insist the Obama administration was more “virtuous” because they didn’t do it as often — or simply lie about who was housing children in cages.

All of these judicial rulings are part of the Left’s coordinated effort to maintain a globalist status quo aimed at reducing the nation-state to irrelevancy. Meanwhile, keep in mind last week’s cartel-driven massacre of a Mormon family, including eight-month-old twins — along with the arrest of a suspect in possession of two bound hostages, four semiautomatic rifles, ammunition and a bullet-proofed SUV. That followed closely on the heels of a Mexican military defeat at the hands of a drug cartel, as well as last Wednesday’s brazen daylight assassination of a cop involved in that operation. Americans must deal with drug overdoses that now kill more Americans per year than car accidents, over-taxed school systems and healthcare facilities, wholly unnecessary crimes, and the ongoing bipartisan attempts by our elites to expand the foreign-born workforce at the expense of American workers.

Above all, Americans must abide the reality that Democrats are working hard to make sure the definition of merit-based immigration is bastardized to the point of absurdity. And in a testament to that effort, Elizabeth Warren says she’s “open to suspending deportations.” And Bernie Sanders promises that his immigration “reform” plan will included the admittance of “at least 50,000” immigrants “displaced by climate change.” And that’s just the start. Sanders’s campaign website states, “By 2050, an estimated 200 million people will be displaced by climate change. Bernie will lead the international community in combating this crisis and America will do its part to welcome those who are forced from their homes by climate change.”

No doubt Democrats will demand that everyone of them will be eligible for subsidized healthcare — and that they’ll find a judge to abet their ambitions.

“Fundamental transformation” demands nothing less.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Three Cheers for Refugee Reduction

Michelle Malkin
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump approved a new annual refugee cap of 18,000, the lowest since the U.S. program began in 1980. The reduction follows news that America took a pause last month and refused to admit any new refugees. On economic, public safety and national security grounds, this is a very good thing for the 325 million people already in our country. But you wouldn’t know it from the grim headlines and hysterical condemnations by globalist zealots and media sympathizers.

CNN International led the open borders funeral procession last week, with a report decrying, “No refugees will be resettled in the US in October, leaving hundreds in limbo around the world.” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., hyperventilated that “Donald Trump is trying to destroy the very heart of this nation. I won’t let him.” Social justice group CARE bemoaned this “dark moment in our nation’s history.” Human Rights First complained that Trump’s proposal is “crippling the United States’ status as a global leader in refugee resettlement.”

Heaven forbid citizens in a sovereign nation have an effective say in who comes here, from where and how many. Is one refugee-less month in America such a catastrophe? Calm down, Chicken Littles. Get some perspective.

It is most certainly true that America has a legacy of embracing people from around the world fleeing persecution and war. After World War II, the U.S. helped lead efforts to assist 650,000 displaced Europeans who had fled in fear, were expelled and were victims of Nazi crimes and terror. Congress passed the 1948 Displaced Persons Act to accommodate them. Five years later, the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 aided refugees from Italy and East Germany escaping Communist regimes, adding another 250,000 refugees over four years. In the 1950s and 1960s, we welcomed Hungarians, Cubans and Czechoslovakians also escaping Communist oppression. In the 1970s, we opened our doors to an estimated 300,000 political refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The Refugee Act of 1980 created the Office of Refugee Resettlement and office of U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and raised the annual ceiling of admissions to 50,000.

Under Obama, that number soared to nearly 100,000 annually. The idea that we’ve abandoned our humanitarian leadership role because of this refugee resettlement reduction is ludicrous. Overall, since 1975, the U.S. has resettled more than 3 million refugees. Under Trump, the U.S. still accepted more refugees than any other country in both 2017 and 2018. On top of that, America forked over nearly $1.6 billion to support the U.N.‘s refugee resettlement campaign. Moreover, America remains the largest single country provider of humanitarian assistance worldwide. Total U.S. humanitarian assistance was more than $8 billion in fiscal year 2017, covering food, shelter, health care and access to clean water for millions.

That’s enough.

Past refugee admissions don’t lock America into those same levels now or in the future. America’s constitutional duty is to Americans first (“ourselves and our posterity”). The truth is that we’ve been generous to a ruinous, open borders fault. Last year, the Federation for American Immigration Reform tallied refugee resettlement costs to taxpayers at nearly $9 billion over five years.

In my adopted home state of Colorado, a new University of Colorado Boulder study acknowledged that refugees are often “trapped in chronic poverty” after resettlement subsidies dry up and are unable to lift themselves out of dependency on government aid such as public housing, Medicaid and food stamps. Federal statistics show that nearly half of all refugee households receive cash welfare. Chain migration perpetuates the cycle of poverty.

A tiny cabal of government contractors, mostly religious groups cloaking their profit-seeking in compassion and Scripture, perpetuates the refugee resettlement racket. Openly hostile to American sovereignty, these people spread their tax-subsidized syndicate’s wealth to a vast network of subcontractors, often tied to billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, which promote global governance and unfettered migration espoused by the United Nations, European Union and Vatican. These special interests have systematically blurred the lines between legitimate refugees seeking asylum from oppression and economic migrants from Central America clamoring for higher wages or better welfare benefits. They’re indifferent to the national security risks of absorbing large numbers of Muslims whose adherence to repressive sharia and religious jihad is utterly incompatible with our constitutional principles.

Mass migration champions have stretched the definition of refugee so thin that “climate change refugees” seeking relief from uninhabitable environments are now a phenomenon. Nuts. Doesn’t America have enough residents in need of shelter and support? If we let in millions of “climate change refugees,” where do Americans seek refuge when they render our climate uninhabitable?

Only a complete moratorium on immigration would give America the break it needs to regain control of our system. Trump’s refugee reduction is not an apocalypse. It’s a long overdue respite from the world’s wretched refuse that deserves cheers, not jeers.



Trump economy is really experiencing a middle-class boom -- this data doesn't lie

Steve Moore:

Heritage Foundation senior economist Steve Moore addresses the current concerns over a U.S. economic recession.

I recently wrote op-eds that ran in the Wall Street Journal and on these pages that showed median household incomes under Donald Trump have soared from $61,000 to an all-time high of $66,000 in less than three years into the Trump presidency. This is tremendous news and documents substantial middle-class prosperity in Trump’s first three years in office.

The $5,003 rise in middle-class incomes is especially impressive given that incomes only rose by $1,200 in the seven years under Obama — after the recession ended.

If the media, liberal think tanks and Democrats in Congress were truly concerned about the economic well-being of “hard-working families,” as Elizabeth Warren likes to say, they would have cheered to the rafters this amazing news of rising incomes for nearly all groups.

Instead, the left has chosen to either ignore this story altogether or to denounce these findings, which come from the gold standard of economic data, the U.S. Census Bureau.

This hostility to the good news was no doubt triggered by President Trump’s ebullient reaction. He has repeatedly tweeted out the numbers on middle class income gains and is now reciting these statistics in nearly every speech.

This same data also undermines the other riff from the Elizabeth Warren crowd, which is that the Trump economic boom is merely a continuation of the Obama trend. The income gains are four times higher under Trump in less than half the number of years in office.

The income numbers are prima facie evidence that not only the rich, but the majority of middle-income households have benefited financially from the Trump economic boom. This same data also undermines the other riff from the Elizabeth Warren crowd, which is that the Trump economic boom is merely a continuation of the Obama trend. The income gains are four times higher under Trump in less than half the number of years in office.

Sure enough, the left and the media are now engaged in a wholesale campaign to discredit the good news on family incomes. Pundits have accused Trump of using phony numbers. The Washington Post recently ran a piece entitled: "Here's How Donald Trump Inflated His Economic Record."

In one Washington Post piece, the reporter sneers of Trump's "rambling distortions" and complains: "Trump's numbers appear to have originated in a pair of columns from the Heritage Foundation's Steve Moore, who used research from a private firm called Sentier Research."

Stop right there. Yes, it is true the data comes from Sentier Research -- a private firm. But what is not ever mentioned in the article is that the data come from the Census Bureau’s "Current Population Survey," which is the gold standard of economic data.

The two Sentier statisticians who analyzed the Census data are probably the most knowledgeable people in the country on this income data. Gordon Green was the chief of the income bureau at Census for more than a decade, and his colleagues at Sentier helped build the economic model Census uses to this day.

They have worked at the income division of the Census Bureau for a combined 40 years. They are scrupulously nonpartisan, and no one has ever challenged their integrity.

"We just report the data," says Gordon Green of Sentier.

Sentier Research has been well-respected by journalists for years. But, apparently, the Sentier numbers become unreliable when they point to good news under Trump.

In my analysis on these numbers, I have openly admitted these monthly data are a first rough estimate of what is happening with incomes over time -- just as the jobs numbers are. They catch the trends over time.

Three years into the Trump presidency there is no calamity and there is no recession. Trump is right to recite real and legitimate data that substantiates the on-going middle-class boom in America today. It isn't Trump, but his accusers who are engaged in "rambling distortions" and who deserve Pinnochio noses.



Coolidge and FDR were right about government workers and unions

by Jeff Jacoby

WHEN BOSTON police officers declared an illegal strike in September 1919, Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge condemned the men for "desertion of duty," and upheld the decision of the commissioner of police to fire the strikers and hire replacements. "There is no right to strike against the public safety," he declared, "by anybody, anywhere, any time."

Coolidge's resolute stand made him a national hero overnight. In November he was reelected in a landslide. A year later he was Warren Harding's running mate on the GOP national ticket, and won election to the White House in his own right in 1924.

The principle that public employees cannot go on strike, and that there is no right to collective bargaining in the public sector, was once endorsed across the political spectrum. "A policeman has no more right to belong to a union than a soldier or a sailor," editorialized The New York Times during the Boston strike. For decades, that was the mainstream Democratic view, too. "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," President Franklin D. Roosevelt affirmed in 1937. He recognized that government is not just another employer, and that empowering labor unions to negotiate with public officials is an invitation to abuse. Ronald Reagan, an FDR admirer and the only labor union leader to become president, upheld that principle in 1981, when he fired 11,000 air-traffic controllers who refused to end an illegal strike — and earned strong public approval for his decision.

How things have changed. Labor unions and collective bargaining in the public sector are now routine, and when public employees walk off the job politicians rush to praise them.

In Chicago, teachers have been on strike since Oct.17, leaving 350,000 students and their parents in the lurch. In Dedham, Mass., teachers went on strike last week, forcing the town to close schools on Friday. Public school teachers have also walked off the job recently in Park County, Col. and Murphysboro, Ill. Yet far from condemning the teachers unions and their members for abandoning their public jobs, elected officials shower them with acclaim.

Notwithstanding the immense disruption the teachers' walkout has inflicted on Chicago, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and other leading Democrats have gone out of their way to encourage the strikers and endorse their demands. In Massachusetts as in most states, government employees are legally barred from striking. Dedham's scofflaw teachers faced no criticism from the Bay State's political bigfeet, however. Both US senators came out in support of the strikers, and Representative Joe Kennedy III showed up at the Dedham picket line with coffee and doughnuts. "In me, you have an ally, you have a champion," he gushed.

Lost in all this adulation is the reason strikes by government workers are against the law: Unlike job actions in the private sector, strikes in the public sector are not economic weapons deployed against private management. They are political weapons deployed to bring distress upon innocent third parties.

When 46,000 United Auto Workers recently went on strike against General Motors, their goal wasn't to heap misery on the nation's car buyers. It was to win a larger share of GM's healthy profits through improved pay and benefits. As with any private sector strike, both labor and management faced the discipline of the market. The longer the strike lasted, the more business GM lost and the more paychecks union members went without. In the private sector, there are limits to the concessions labor can demand. Companies need profits to survive, and outrageous labor costs can cause a company to lose sales, eliminate jobs, or, if worse comes to worst, go out of business.

But such checks and balances don't exist when government workers go on strike.

It isn't management that gets squeezed when teachers, air-traffic controllers, or trash collectors walk off the job. It's ordinary citizens. Striking government employees don't seek economic equity from cash-laden corporate management; they seek to make the public miserable, and thereby increase political pressure on public officials to accede to the union's demands.

Strikes in the public sector have nothing to do with getting management to share its wealth, and everything to do with extracting more money from taxpayers who are deprived of bargaining power in the process. Everybody wants more money and more lavish benefits, but the compensation of government employees is a matter of public policy. That policy should be crafted openly, as other government policies are. It shouldn't be held hostage to pressure from lawbreaking employees, and no government official should be required to negotiate with special interest lobbies — which is what public-sector unions amount to — in setting the terms and conditions of government employment.

FDR, Reagan, and Coolidge were right, even if it is unfashionable to say so: Public workers have no right to strike, and collective bargaining should have no place in government employment. The system we live with now is rigged — rigged against taxpayers and against democratic fairness. If only we had political leaders unafraid to say so.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here